IN THE VINEYARD
The unique source of Oceano’s wines is Spanish Springs Vineyard. In 2016, we were introduced to this spectacular terroir by the owner — and dear family friend — Henry Warshaw. We only made Chardonnay our first two vintages. In 2018, we finally settled on our chardonnay clones (809, 17 and 96) after much experimentation and made our first vintage of Pinot Noir using clones Swan and 115. Now into our fourth vintage, we have a greater understanding of the site. We increased our volume of both wines, and added two additional clones of pinot, 667 and 777.
IN THE CELLAR
This is our first year pressing, fermenting and aging at Italics Winegrowers. The grapes were picked in stages — four picks of chardonnay and three of pinot noir. Our grapes arrived in refrigerated truck with a capacity of 3.5 tons. Our fruit is picked in the wee hours of the morning, so that by sunrise all the bins are stacked in the truck. Then they are transported to Italics where they are immediately pressed (as in the case of chardonnay) or destemmed (pinot noir) and gravity fed — a more gentle method of moving fruit — into stainless steel tanks. The chardonnay is settled and then goes into barrel for fermentation in the cold room. The pinot is fermented in tank and then goes to barrel to complete malolactic fermentation and to age. At this moment, the Chardonnay is aging and the Pinot is undergoing malo. Together, Marbue Marke and I will taste all the barrels on November 14th. We will then make aging decisions and conduct preliminary blending trials.
Rachel joins Mira Honeycutt (pictured right) among her other guests at the Oceano Wines live auction table.
We participated in our first SLO Coast Wine Association annual event, Harvest on the Coast on November 2nd. At first we were nervous about being the new kid on the block, but people were seeking us out thanks to our presence on social media and positive buzz about our wines in the press. Many have asked if our tasting room is in Oceano. Well, not just yet. However, we do have a new tasting room near San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. It is a very small space. However, we are permitted to pour and sell wines to our guests. We welcome visitors by appointment. 636 Clarion Court, San Luis Obispo.
- New! We now offer pickup as an option on our website shopping cart. Your wines can be picked up in San Luis Obispo at SLO Wine Storage, 827 Buckley Road, San Luis Obispo.
Keith Janosik, Central Market
Go very big, or go right home. That’s Texas. And that’s Central Market, a gourmet grocery, beer and wine emporium that stretches from East Texas to West Texas, with multiple spots in between. If the fact that each store has literally thousands upon thousands of options to eat and drink available to its customers proves its girth, Central Market is actually part of an even larger group of markets and stores where you can get everything from baby clothes to Cristal (really!). The roots of this company, called H-E-B, date to 1905 in the Texas Hill Country, which suggests that while it may qualify as Texas Big, its culture is finely attuned to giving consumers what they want. And a lot of it. And in the realm of wine and beer, that’s Keith Janosik’s job. Like Texas, his title is a big one: Business Development Manager, Beer and Wine. But rather than taking the easy way out by loading up his many shelves with the usual suspects, he goes out of his way to find off-the-beaten-path producers like Oceano, a rare — and welcome buying strategy for large chains.
Given that you have a number of locations in different parts of Texas, as well as multiple stores in major metropolitan areas, how do you determine which stores get which wines?
We have some of the most talented and wine-knowledgeable wine managers in the industry. All are at minimum WSET [a wine and spirits educational and certification organization] Level 2 certified or higher. Our focus is on wines with a sense of place, a real story and the best quality regardless of price point. All our stores carry the wines I source; however, the managers have the freedom to add wines that reflect what our customers want in their areas.
According to trade statistics, Texas has long been one of the leading markets for California Chardonnay. Based on your experience with your customers, what do you attribute this to?
Texans’ love of Chardonnay started with our vibrant restaurant culture. I don’t know of another state that has so many restaurants that have been in business for 30, 40, even 50 years, and still thriving and bringing great wines to their customers. Chardonnay is a perfect wine match for Texas favorites, like Mexican and Central American cuisines, seafood, roast poultry and sushi. And given our climate, Chardonnay is never out of season.
What is it about Oceano Chardonnay that made it a fit for your shelves?
First of all, anything Rachel is involved in is of interest to me. What she accomplished at Boxwood is amazing. As for Oceano, we love bringing in new wines with her kind of story for our customers. The uniqueness of the Spanish Springs Vineyard — closest vineyard to the ocean in California, SIP Certified, hand harvested, very small production — is what we are known for sourcing and what we want to sell. In my opinion, chardonnay and pinot noir are the two most fascinating grapes for winemaking because of the range of styles and subtleties they can produce. Oceano Chardonnay is a wine of amazing purity and depth.
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